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 Post subject: Your favorite pots'n'pans - stainless steel, calphalon, etc
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:52 pm 
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Hi PPKers,

For all my cooking life, I've gotten along with a cobbled-together set of calphalon pans (i don't know which line of calphalon.. they're inexpensive and from TJ Maxx) plus a couple of cast iron skillets. The calphalon pans are really showing their age - everything sticks and bits of the coating are flaking off into the food. I'd like to get a couple of new budget-friendly pans to replace them but not sure if I should stick to calphalon or try something new. What do y'all use and like?

FYI I really love my cast iron pans and they've only gotten better with age. But I'm not sure how well cast iron would work for saucepans and larger pots.

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 Post subject: Re: Your favorite pots'n'pans - stainless steel, calphalon,
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 7:03 pm 
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Your cast iron pans are probably more than enough for frying pans and the like. And maybe one good sized Dutch oven if that's your style.

Most of my pots/pans are stainless - I figure most people want a huge stock pot, a good sized pasta pot, and a small and medium sauce pan for that sort of thing. I only have a couple items that I guess are calphalon - my main one being my wok style pan.

Our big stock pot came from a second hand store - we use it for huge simmers and to cook down sap for maple syrup. It's mildly excessive but nice to have around. Beyond that I wouldn't buy much used as the age does show.

If you've got an ok collection of non stick items, I'd stick to stainless for pots.

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 Post subject: Re: Your favorite pots'n'pans - stainless steel, calphalon,
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 7:16 pm 
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I have old Revere Ware and love them.

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 Post subject: Re: Your favorite pots'n'pans - stainless steel, calphalon,
PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 7:23 pm 
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This Cuisinart pan is one of my favorites, I use it for almost everything and the shape is good for stir frying and making a small batch of soup. I have other smaller pots and one huge stainless steel pot/pressure cooker - but that Cuisinart pan is more or less my Goldilocks of cooking vessels.


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 Post subject: Re: Your favorite pots'n'pans - stainless steel, calphalon,
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:07 am 
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I would go for stainless or cast iron pans without any coating. There's always the worry that the coating is toxic or will be found out later to be toxic. Some coatings get scratched. Also, coatings don't expand with heat at the same rate as the metal underneath, so they can crack with thermal shocks.

I inherited a Le Creuset enameled cast iron pot and the enamel cracked. I searched on the Net and lots of people seemed to have had the same problem. Some companies honor their warranty and replace the product, but it's still a waste since lots of pots get thrown away. There is sometimes the possibility to reenamel a pot, but it would have cost me 120 $, the process is not ecofriendly, and the result is lower-quality and less pretty than with the original Le Creuset. Manufacturers give recommendations like: don't heat above medium heat on the stove, go from low heat to medium heat over five minutes, preheat the pan in the oven instead of placing it in the already preheated oven, don't use metal utensils... I find that not convenient at all, and it gives me the feeling that the reputation of enameled cast iron relies mostly on how pretty, old-fashioned and impressive it looks.

I like this Cuisinart sauté pan because it's big and can serve as frying pan, big saucepan or dutch oven in some way. It can go in the oven, including the lid, up to 500 F. I like stainless because it's easy to lift and take care of.

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 Post subject: Re: Your favorite pots'n'pans - stainless steel, calphalon,
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:45 am 
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Almost everything I have is stainless steel, both pots and frying pans, and I love them for most things. That said, I've been thinking of getting a small non-stick frying pan for things like tofu omelettes and other stuff that tends to make a holy mess in non-non-stick. But the way things brown beautifully in s.s. and also the ease of cleaning have won me over.

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 Post subject: Re: Your favorite pots'n'pans - stainless steel, calphalon,
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 3:44 pm 
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Minatomachi wrote:
I would go for stainless or cast iron pans without any coating. There's always the worry that the coating is toxic or will be found out later to be toxic. Some coatings get scratched. Also, coatings don't expand with heat at the same rate as the metal underneath, so they can crack with thermal shocks.

This. ^
I work in a machine shop, and one of the airplane parts I make is made out of teflon. Whenever I make them, I have this urge to chew on them (which I've never actually done), and I expect them to taste like scrambled eggs. So, I will never cook with teflon again, since my brain has been trained to think teflon is food.

I use cast iron skillets and Dutch oven, I also have an enamel coated Dutch oven I scored at Aldi for $20 a couple of years ago, and my saucepans and stockpot are stainless steel with aluminum encapsulated in the bottom.


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 Post subject: Re: Your favorite pots'n'pans - stainless steel, calphalon,
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 6:43 pm 
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I have a set of Cuisinart stainless and use them for everything. They are oven safe, including the lids. I love them.


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 Post subject: Re: Your favorite pots'n'pans - stainless steel, calphalon,
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:24 pm 
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I have cast iron pans and revere ware stainless steel/copper bottom pots and Dutch oven. The revere ware are hand me downs from our friends who used them for 30 years and they look pretty much new. I've been through all different types of pots and ended up with the same system as my mom (cast iron pans & revere pots), which she has had for 40 years without replacing. So that would be my recommendation. I also have an enameled cast iron Dutch oven that is really nice but sticks like whoa. I like revere because you can scrub stuck stuff with a green scrubby and not mess up the surface.

The nice thing is you can find revere sets second hand all over in thrift stores and online so you can get them for a good price. It looks like Walmart has a new set for $75, which is rely reasonable!

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 Post subject: Re: Your favorite pots'n'pans - stainless steel, calphalon,
PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:49 pm 
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I'm in the process of replacing my Calphalon One, which I dislike because everything sticks to it and it's a pain to wash - with Simply Calphalon Ceramic, which I love because it is a joy to wash and the white ceramic coating makes food look great while cooking it.

I have some "heirloom" cast iron from my grandmother which are inherently non-stick and easy to clean, but I worry that I'm going to crack my stovetop if I slip and drop it so I only use them for baking cornbread and casseroles, etc.

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 Post subject: Re: Your favorite pots'n'pans - stainless steel, calphalon,
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 1:24 pm 
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I have a story for you...

I've been vegan most of my adult life. Have been into healthy living, ecological concerns and compassion for the animals.

But I've used my old pots and pans for many many years, until recently when I switched over to stainless steel and cast iron cookware.

I honestly don't know how I used the same old toxic pots and pans all these years, but at least I finally put my foot down and made the switch. Cast Iron is affordable but that stainless steel stuff set me back in $$$, but I'm sure in the long run it'll be better for my health and will last a lifetime.

A worthy investment.

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 Post subject: Re: Your favorite pots'n'pans - stainless steel, calphalon,
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 2:08 pm 
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Cast iron pans from Goodwill, scrubbed down with steel wool, coated with coconut oil, and baked in the oven at like 180 degrees until they smoked. 8) They're really nice now, pretty much non-stick, and they cost under $20 each. (Mostly like 5 or 10 bucks.)

I also have one really nice 17-inch non-stick aluminum pan that I use for dry-frying tofu and stuff. It has no brand name that I know of-- I got it at a restaurant supply store and it was pretty inexpensive for how good it's been. (Either 35 or 70 bucks. I forget which... I want to brag that it was super cheap, but it probably wasn't. But it's very very good.)

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 Post subject: Re: Your favorite pots'n'pans - stainless steel, calphalon,
PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:09 pm 
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My husband took me shopping for new pots and pans our first Christmas together and we splurged on stainless steel All-Clad and 19 years later, they still look new. They're heavy and durable. For non-stick, I'm too cheap to invest in expensive teflon pans, so I buy $20 T-Fal nonstick pans at the grocery store and then don't hesitate to throw them away the second they have a couple scratches on them. They usually last a year or two, although I'm having really good luck with a non-stick ceramic pan.


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 Post subject: Re: Your favorite pots'n'pans - stainless steel, calphalon,
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2015 10:58 pm 
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My sauté go-to: 12-inch stainless skillet or braising pan. All clad is the best brand and I found mine at a thrift store for 11 bucks. It will never ever break or chip and if you use it everyday it's worth buying new.

Also great: carbon steel woks for sautés, deep-frying, roasting, etc

Indispensable: large stock pot for soup/pasta. Cheaper pots work fine for boiling things.

And if you cook rice: a heavy-bottomed 6 qt pot with lid, all-clad if you can afford it/get it as a gift

That's really all I need. Simple.


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 Post subject: Re: Your favorite pots'n'pans - stainless steel, calphalon,
PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 6:40 am 
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no matter what i do, my one ("pre-cured", oh the irony) cast iron cannot be trusted with pancakes (although i cured a raw wok that is now completely non stick). I have a cheapie nonstick fry pan that I replace every year or so.
Other than that I have a set of cheapie stainless, which are great, and the beer pot/stockpot (very thin and cheap stainless).
I want to do the artisan bread in the oven thing but don`t have the money for a Le Creuset, especially here, so I am on the hunt for a lidded clay pot.

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